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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 4, 2012 7:45pm-9:00pm EST

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lesbian americans deserve the same rights as every else. the second main theme is that because of this cost and over-the-top rhetoric that we often hear from the religious right most people have little understanding of what rank-and-file republicans actually believe about gay issues. and i think that the conventional wisdom is all republicans hate gays. nothing could be further from the truth. >> you can watch this and other programs online from the jefferson library at monticello, historian henry when sec examines thomas jefferson's relationships slavery. he reports the thomas jefferson sought financial gain through the ownership and labor of his slaves, but america's third president called silent profits. the underutilized recent archaeological findings at jefferson's estate, monticello, and jefferson's papers in his
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research. this is just over an hour. >> our guest speaker this afternoon is henry when seco will be talking about his book, must -- master of the mountain, thomas jefferson and his life's. it is a subject which the thomas jefferson foundation has been a pioneer in researching and presenting, thinks lawyers the to the work of stanton who has collected essays which were published earlier this year by the university of virginia press they are entitled, labor to my happiness, slavery and thomas jefferson's monticello. regarded an authority on the subject. her book was released to coincide with an exhibit on slavery in monticello and the smithsonian national museum of african american history, which
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was co curated by the staff of the thomas jefferson foundation. seventy of the descendants of those commemorated attended the opening nine. after 50 years of archaeological and historical research, thomas jefferson foundation is now in the next phase of interpretation and restoration projects funded by the national endowment for humanities and by private support. the project is called the landscape of slavery, marlborough and monticello, which includes the creation of many exhibits at key sites and ax of smart phones are websites and computer animation. the people held in slavery at monticello, images of only seven men and women survive. but all of the names are preserved. nevertheless, for many years, the human dimension was missing
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from these careful accounts. in 1993 by historians at monticello started an oral history project called getting word to fill in the missing human dimension. next february monticello with participation from more than the university of virginia will be hosting a conference entitled telling the history of slavery, scholarship, museum interpretation, and the public. these activities represent why monticello is regarded as the best documented, the best preserved, and the best studied plantation in north america. furthermore, by presenting the history of enslaved peoples as individuals with particular stories and lives, monticello hostess humanize an institution that has mostly been presented
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in abstraction without details of individuals and families. for those of you interested in more information, we encourage you to look at our website, which includes a video of current descendants talking about their own lives and their relationship to monticello. it is thanks to the remarkable resources of the thomas jefferson foundation devoted to research that i first met henry when sec. here in the jefferson library, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary as the only library dedicated to one of the founding fathers. henry is an independent scholar. he is also a local author known to many of us here in the audience who rates on plantation
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society in the south and his last book was on george washington in slavery entitled and in perfect god which was published in 2003. at the end of his talky will be taking questions and will be available to sign copies of his book in the gallery. please join me in a welcoming henry when sec. [applause] >> thank you. a very much appreciate your remarks. it is a homecoming for me because i spent many months upstairs and down the hall when i had a here to begin my research on the book. i am extremely grateful for all of the ways he has let me support over the years and also to up the former executive director of monticello and
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leslie bowman, the current executive director for their support in the past and in the present. this is a magnificent resource. as andrew says, monticello is, perhaps, a leading public history site for the study of slavery in the united states. that -- the study of that subject is really very difficult for a number of reasons. one is, it's so hard to get the documents, and the other is the psychological impediments that we americans have in that, as described by one hold, the theologian who also happens to be the father of my editor, he said, americans buy our own traditions of the most innocent people on earth. we never do anything wrong as a people and as a country. it becomes very difficult for us to learn anything from the past because there was never any right or wrong. it's always, you know, we always come out innocent. and so when one encounters a
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phenomenon such as slavery, which seems so palpably evil, we have to find some way of dealing with it, and we usually rapid in that word, paradox, which means that we suspend all judgment and say, well, we just can't figure out the people of that time. i have spent, as i mentioned, spending many months upstairs poring over the documents published and unpublished about this place here at monticello and jefferson's relationships with them and getting more and more confused. one of the best known slave memoirs that we have was written by the black -- was spoken by the blacksmith is the grandeur. i studied him in great detail. and in a couple of cases images that jefferson was a good master and that jefferson's son-in-law, colonel thomas randolph who ran things around here when jefferson was a way, the colonel was in charge of the overseers,
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kind of an executive overseer. he said carol randolph was also a very good minister. but in going through the records and found that the colonel, when strapped for cash took isaacs' daughter, maria, and sold them to an overseer, sold her to an overseer who took the young girl away to kentucky, and she was never seen again. now, as it did not mention that in his memoir. why? i really don't know. maybe he told his white interviewer in the interview did not want to write it down. maybe is it didn't want to say anything that would hurt the feelings of white men. maybe to make -- maybe it's just that and left the impression on him. we just don't know, but it's not there, and it leads one to realize that there is a lot in these accounts that we really don't know. and the psychological, just possible psychological distortions that took place under slavery as something that
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we are still wrestling with. another person's memoirs i spent a lot of time with with those of peter faucet. he left to memoirs. he gave newspaper interviews in the late 1900's, 1800's. he was born here. he was one of the slaves to was auctioned in the auction of mr. jefferson slaves after jefferson's death. his father was joseph fawcett, the chief by smith here at monticello. his mother, edith, was mr. jefferson's cut. so this was a very high status family. and i had been spending a lot of time reading his memoirs and trying to glean as much information as i could from the. it was one hot afternoon, i decided to get out of this place and go over to the mountain and just sort of wander around, as i often did, looking at the house and mingling with the taurus, just trying to get a sense of the place all over again because place is very important to my
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riding. and as it turned out, the tour guide was just beginning to talk in mulberry row about peter faucet. and she began telling the story about how he was sold at auction at age 11 and was sold to someone who promised peter's father that he would release him in a few years if joseph raise enough money because joseph was one of the few slaves freed in jefferson's will. and just have worked very hard to raise the money to buy his son back from his master, but then the master broke the deal. he broke his promise. and peter was three condemned to slavery. by and the -- what a friend described as light would not sit night, he would sneak out and hide in a distant cabin and tied by the embers of the dying fire. and he taught himself to read and write, and in so doing he learned how to write fake the
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emancipation documents. and at that point in the story suddenly a thunderstorm blew into the monticello known top, and a guide looked around and said, well, if anybody is scared of the storm, you can leave and read to the old tunnel beneath the house. but having heard the beginning of peter faucet's narrative, no real left. and so she went on to say that he produced fake emancipation documents that allowed his sister and others to actually to escape virginia, and then he decided to write a fake emancipation paper and self. so he ran away but was caught, was brought back to charlottesville, and then he turned again. he said, was determined to get free or die in the attempt. and so he ran away again, was caught, and this time his owner decided to dispose of him, to turn him over to the richmond traders for he was brought in handcuffs, and then as he recounted for the second time in my life, was put on the auction
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block and sold like a horse. but when his friends in charlottesville found out about this they raise the money to buy him out of slavery. they sent into ohio as a free man where he became a minister, businessmen, and a smuggler of fugitives in the underground. and in his old age she had one wish left which was to come back to monticello which lived in his memory as an earthy paradise. so he came back here and walked up to the top of the mountain with a group of tourists were standing. and to me that story had always been one of triumph of the human spirit over difficulties. and -- i heard a different element to it that day, that afternoon. when the tour guide mentions that from the time he was sold at age 11, fawcett remain the same for another 24 years. and when the visitors heard that they gasped. there really could not get over it because they had just learned
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about the courage and the character and the achievements of this man in the could not believe that such a person would be held in slavery. it really tore at their sense of justice. and i had to wonder, and that was something i had never thought of before. i read the story, but i never heard it, and it was only when outsiders who were just so cannot monticello or herded that basic human element came out. i began to wonder, you know, why didn't jefferson see these people as fully human? and that was one of the major contradictions that propelled my research. and what i discovered is that jefferson appears to be a man of contradictions, but when you do something rather simple, which is to put him on a time line and examine all of his sayings and actions in an excellent chronological order, certain patterns emerge, and things simultaneously get a little bit more complicated, but a lot
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simpler. and we are actually dealing with to jefferson's. the young jefferson who was a fiery radical emancipationist, and there was the older jettison who really embraced slavery. the young jefferson and oddly enough, has really not been steady all that much. as a newly minted member of the house, he made a proposal to emancipate the slaves in virginia. he made it on the sly, shielding his identity using a relative to submit the bill which is a good thing because is relative was denounced as an enemy of this country, and the bill was summarily dismissed. but then later under his own name as the revolution approached jefferson floated a more explicit plan, one that actually might have changed the course of our history. if only the country would stop the slave trade, it could perceive to the enfranchisement of the slaves of we have, meaning that they would become citizens, and he wrote this in a document called the summary of
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the rights of british america, which he also submitted to the house of burgesses or to a committee thereof, and it was, again, summarily objective have rejected. that led to his being chosen to write the declaration of independence read announce the slave trade in no uncertain terms, another clause that was struck because south carolina and georgia would not abide any strictures on the slave trade. but after the war a strange thing began to happen to him. oddly enough, france is the key to understanding the transformation in jefferson. when we think of france we think of sally and james having. we think of french food. jefferson getting to know french architecture and line, but he went over there on very important national business. he was there as our trade representative. we were desperate for money, a total of money, the u.s. of enormous debts to britain.
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almost important export was a slave crop. it was tobacco, which brought in some $30 million per year. no, jefferson had one problem. the most important and influential friends that he had a court among the french aristocrats were all abolitionists, and they could not understand how we had fought a war for universal liberty without freeing the slaves. they put him under tremendous pressure, and they kept asking, what is america going to free the slaves. so he began making promises that emancipation was really just around the corner. it was imminent. we were waiting for a polyester ripen, for the right opinion to ripen. none of this was really true, but it was in our interest ramp to say that. oddly enough jefferson really did absorb some of this radical feeling over there in france. and before he left he said down a plan in tell people about it. he told thomas paine, william
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short, number of others over there that when he got back to america he was going to train slaves, settle them on land as sharecroppers in the certainty that they would become good citizens and free people in the united states. but when he got back to the united states things changed. he came back with his daughter, patsy, and it turned out she needed a dowry because she met her cousin, thomas mann randolph and they decided to get married in a hurry, and the only way the jefferson could set them up in a household was to give them land and, of course, a lot of slaves. he wrote them that he would give his daughter 25 negros, little and big. the other thing is that he began to think of rebuilding monticello. he needed money for this, and he also needed to rely on air
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retrains life force. and people that he had formally denounced as being childlike and incompetent possibly he called upon them to acquire a vast array of new skills, which they did very, very quickly. so when i was following jefferson through the documents along my own time light i came across the document that has disturbed many people since i put it print, but not as much as it disturbed me when i found it. and it details to a british agricultural expert, jefferson was counting of the profits and losses of virginia plantations when it suddenly occurred to him that there was a phenomenon which she had received a monticello but it never actually measured. he proceeded to calculate it in a scribbled note in the middle of the page in posted brackets. what jefferson and realized for the first time was that he was making a 4% profit every year of the birth the black children. enslave people were yielding him a bonanza, a perpetual human
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dividend that compound interest. jefferson wrote, i allowed nothing for losses by death, but on the contrary show pleasantly take credit for% per year for their increase over and above keeping up their own numbers. the plantation was producing inexhaustible human assets, the percentage was predictable. to me this was a stunning, even frightening discovery. no one, as far as i could tell, among the jefferson scholars, had ever mentioned it. i thought it might be in a liar, and isolated document, an isolated mathematical demonstration of the sort that jefferson often like to do. no. in a subsequent letter jefferson took the four per cent formula further and quite bluntly advanced the notion that slavery presented the investment strategy for the future. he wrote to an acquaintance who had suffered financial of firstly. he wrote back in a queens to that lost money. should have been invested in negros. he advises that if that family had any cash left, and every
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farthing of it should be laid out in land in the gross whisperings a silent profit of from five to 10% in this country by the increase in the value. now, we might not grasp the world where a man can on his own siblings as slaves, but investments, markets, silent profit, these we can recognize. from that moment in jefferson's life everything changed and the slaves were doomed. a startling statistic emerged in the 1970's when economists took a hard-headed look slavery. they found that on the eve of the civil war enslaved black people in aggregate form the second most valuable asset in the united states. there was more value than all of the railroads and banks and factories combined command the only thing that was more valuable was the land of the united states. in the 1790's we see the full emergence of jefferson as a politician, the architect, engineer, and the of japan your slavery.
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the diversified and industrialized slavery, watching in a factory, a textile factory, short-lived tense that the operation, and a grist mill. as our mission before, is readily adapted to learning. he had put all of this into operation by the mid 7090's when one of his old friends from france, and too, came by and was astonished at how well the monticello machine worked and how he said this lifts were well fed, well treated, and that jefferson was out supervising the harvest all by himself, all alone, and he seemed to be taking direct control of everything. and the duke could not restrain his admiration for what jefferson did, had done. and it was an amazing thing to have accomplished so fast because when jefferson was in france he said this place for their children and could never wear anything complex. well, now jefferson and the sleeves together an overturned that. slaves were clearly very
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competent, and so the question arises, is this the time to begin setting people free? well, apparently not because jefferson now raises the objection that we cannot freeze least because we are afraid of the mixing of blood. black blood will mix of light. and at that point everything seemed to be totally unreal to the duke because he could look around and see that racial mixing had already taken place. there were people on monticello mountain who had -- his skin was so light that you could not even tell that they were black people and the roster of skills that these people had acquired is truly extraordinary, ranging from plowman and women tend hoopers, dyers, weavers, roofers, launders, barbers, hair dressers, cabinetmakers and later on some french visitors were amazed at the carriage that there were riding in. a very elegant carriage.
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he asked where it came from. jefferson said, well, slaves made it. he did not get over the fact that this thing had been manufactured by slaves. and then ironically, the slaves had condemned themselves. the more skilled they became, the more valuable they became commend the more they tend the chains of their enslavement. with the machine functioning in an equilibrium, the owner would never dismantle. jefferson pioneered something else. he pioneered the modernization of slaves, the finalization of slavery. another document that i came across, which i have not seen, that upon before, was the fact that he finance the reconstruction of monticello in the 1790's, partly through what we might call the slate equity loan. he bundled together 150 slaves and offered them as collateral to a dutch banking house that he had done business with many was in france and said, you know, would you take them as the collateral for loans.
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they said yes. so they opened -- the bank opened a $2,000 line of credit for jefferson at a philadelphia merchant house. and that was the money he drew upon to by the construction materials that went into monticello. no, the surface of slavery that the duke had seen was on the surface of very genteel system, but that was only the top slice of monticello that he was seeing . the operation had a much harsher side to it, you know, farther down the mountain. jefferson had a conflict and disliked having to punish people. a fog of regret in denial hangs over the whole business, but throughout his plantation records their runs the threat of indications that the machine function on carefully calibrated violence. i mean, jefferson said to my first wish is that the labors may be well treated, but what at first glance appears to be an
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ironclad promise turns out to be just what jefferson says it is, which. in the as a qualifier. the second wish is that they may enable me to have that treatment continued by making as much as well admit it, meaning that i will treat you well, but if you do not produce enough it will be harsh measures. jefferson's overseer, william page, it develops discussed. his methods of control at jefferson's farms under the county. in the judgment of white citizens, page was a terror. but the colonel who was running the operation in port jefferson that the slaves for discontented , that his free use of the lash. jefferson retained this man for another two years. jefferson's other son-in-law, john wales alluded to the public sentiment against. when he thought tire slaves and other planters nobody would do business with them. he wrote, the terror of his name prevented the possibility of hiring and.
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no, in this regard in the 1950's a tiny fragment of affirmation about the monticello's system so shocked one of jefferson's editors that he suppressed for the record. until recently the standard source for our understanding of life of monticello has been the addition of jefferson's farm book ended in 1956 by edwin bats. when bats edited one of the plantation reports he confronted a taboo. randolph reported to jefferson that the miller was functioning well because the small ones were being whipped. they did not take well only to being forced to show up in the icy midwinter hour before dawn at jefferson's male forged, and so the overseer was whipping them for truancy. no, he decided that the image of children being beaten at to be suppressed. the full text did not emerge until 2005. and his deletion play an important role in shaping the consensus that jefferson managed
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his plantations with a lenient and. the management of plantations also had a psychological element we often -- we often hear that jefferson had encouraged his slaves with rewards, incentives, and that he wanted them to have to display character. what character meant was not to have self-esteem which was dangerous, but it meant that you were done so. you did what you were told. and there was a wrenching story that colonel randall said down about a slave just down the road from here who is a slave who was said to have possessed a great deal of character. the one who was trusted by the master whenever anything important had to be done. trusted to handle money and go on important errands. he was highly regarded, but randolph got to know him and found out that the secret behind his character was that he was
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terrified. he was terrified of being whipped. he had formed our revolution never to do anything but cause him to incur what he calls stripes. one day he apparently left some tools and in the field. to make an example of him, a new overseer had it stripped of his shirt and whipped him. the man was so humiliated that he went in himself right in front of the master's house. this was the occasion for a long and detailed and wrenching letter that carol randolph wrote describing this man in growing terms as a man of great courage and character. and it is in this letter randolph denounces what he calls the whole system as a hideous monster. he describes something that is based totally on terror and not at all on this notion of character. he had nothing bad to say about the slaves but described them as showing great courage in going off to death instead of trying
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to run away. to go back for a moment to the timeline, there are two basic benchmarks, events in jefferson's public life that i've looked at as displaying really his shift from one type of politician and planter to another. jefferson, the younger radical had written the terms of the ordinance of 1784 that would ban slavery in any new territory of the united states. this is what jefferson wrote. after the year 1800-beater slavery nor involuntary servitude. now, such a law would happen slavery and the timetable. those who helped -- had slaves would have had 16 years to figure a way out. the ordinance which would have included mississippi and alabama and think of those two places being without slaves failed to pass in the continental congress when just one delegate from new jersey miss the vote to tell
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this. now, jefferson himself wrote that the fate of millions unborn had been determined by the absence of this one man. and joyce, the great historian, commented on this saying that after the 1784 limitation on slavery had failed jefferson backed away from attacking the institution as his power to do something about it increased. .. don't allow slavery or appreciate in value 50%.
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all of was going on, it was a fresh moment of decision. congress had the will to restrict slavery there. jefferson sent a message to his manager in the senate saying slaves to be admitted to the territory. then he wept on to aid in the creation in the legal system and the bureaucracy that managed slavery in the new territory. to the point where the historian -- referred to him as the father of slavery in louisiana. it was only twenty years later from the man who tried to stop slavery from getting to the west to the man who helps to extend the reach in to the new territory. i don't much like counter factual, i'm going end with one anyway because i think this one really could have happened. there was an history that was recorded in the 1940s by a
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woman who was trying to find information about sally hemmings. he went to find as many dissent ends of slaves as she could. she recorded a number of interview. in one of them a person said something that was striking. she said -- no he he say. mr. jefferson misused large sums of money that been given to him benefit of the newing grow it didn't make any sense at all when i first read it. i didn't know what he could be talking about. i thought it was something madeup by people who were angry at slavery and thed to get back at mr. jefferson. i found it was true. visiting philadelphia one time, i was wandering with my family through society hill, and we came to a house with plaque that said that was the townhouse the great polish patriot and hero of
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the american revolution had lived. it was open as a museum. so we went in there, at the front there was a bro brochure. i didn't know they had a relationship. i find to my surprise, that he written a will in which he left jefferson $20,000 to free as many slaves as that money would buy. and to give them land and to give them livestock, and pay for the transportation and education transportation especially to some place they could live undisturbed as free people. it's interesting when the piece of information came out in the smith smithsonian mag seen a number of -- magazine a number of people said they never heard of it. i said i never heard of it either until i stumbled across it in philadelphia.
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among of a couple of people had thoughts about this that hadn't occurred to me. when you hope your book is being made in to a movie. who do you want to star if people began to say, i wonder whom he could have freed. if people thought john and precilla hemmings, they said, well, maybe i had could have freed some of his farmers and someone said, -- he could have freed joe and -- joe was the black smith, and, edi was his cook, they had a bunch of children. and it turned out in the auction of jefferson's ease estate after the war after his death, joseph was the only one freed. jefferson left the rest of the family in slavery. they were scattered to different masters. joseph worked for ten yearsed at
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his forge trying to earn the money to buy back his own wife and all of his children. he managed -- one of his children escaped from slavely, but he managed to get most of them back except peter, whose owner would never give him up. yes joseph and edith had to leave charlottesville leaving peter behind. they setsed in ohio. peter was brought out of slavery by his own friends in charlottesville he was able to join them. and i would like to conclude with this language. this is what he wrote, he actually, the interesting thing about this is that jefferson drafted his will. and in 1795, had had finally got the payment that was coming to
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him for his service in the american revolution. he was a general of engineers under george washington, and as many of you know, he designed the fort fortification at west point. his payment was delayed. he got it in 1775. he went to see his friend jefferson, he said will you write a will with me. he made jefferson the exec executor. after they drafted -- before they drafted the formal document. he had written something out in his own hand, and i would like to read this to you in conclusion. i beg mr. jefferson that in case i should die without will, he should buy out of my money many negroes and free them. the remaining sums should be sufficient to give them education, and provide for their maintenance. that is 0 to say each should know beforehand the duty of a
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statistic in the free government that he must defend his country against foreign as well as internal enemy. to have good and human heart, sensible for the sufferings of others. each one must be married and have 100 acre of land with instrument. cattle and know how to manage and governor it as well as how to behave with neighbors. always with kindness. themselves frugal to their children give good education. i mean as to the heart in to the duty to their country. he had only one ask q to make of the people he expected to free. in gratitude to me to make themselves as happy as possible. it never happened. and stop there and i will be happy to take any questions if anyone has any. [applause]
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[applause] it is a terrible truism that slavery was about making rost. in the book you seem to be suggesting something more knee far use that he's looking to engage in slave trading, when i saw that -- when i saw that is a counter intuitive. jefferson is not generally regarded as a good businessman. he died in debt, and the one exception is -- [inaudible] documented did indeed make a
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profit. one of the problems is no one is done the economics. we go here in the audience who i'm hoping is going to be the first person who adds up. it's amazing. we have the best financial data almost any individual in the 18th century. but no one has done the basic work of adding and detracting and seeing exactly the finances work. and i wonder in order to really make this case that he's benefiting from slave breedings doesn't one need to do more of an economic study would you not need to have and to do that. take a look. >> it would be certainly be better to have more data, but i think that the strongest evidence we have is from jefferson himself when not only did he urge his neighbor to neighbor's family to invest in negro because of the
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appreciation and value. he said twice later in life that the women who bring a child every two years are more important me than laboring hands because what they bring is an addition to my capital. and he said that twice later in his life. and i think it's actually perfectly clear that when -- came along and he was handed $20,000 to free as many slaves as that money would buy, he could have -- he could have freed two families, three families, his choice. he could have set the price whatever he wanted to. he walked away from that money. i think for two reason half of it would have gone to the slaves himself. he would have to extend it on purchasing land and livestock and equipment. but also, the other thing, they were important the machine. but also it was their
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reproductive value. he was really very blunt about that. as i said saying twice later in his life that, you know, the women bringings assets. he was not going relinquish assets like that. partly because he wanted them for himself. i think was deliberately piling up slave asset as a board against the debt that would dissent on his family when he died, and oddly enough, when he had the money right in front of him, and he refused it, he was almost at the same time giving slaves away to his grandson, thomas jefferson ran doll so jeff could be set up properly in his own household. owning slaves was an excellent way to transfer wealth between generations. and as for jefferson's debt, i think it has been the problem of that has been greatly
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exaggerated. i think billy and -- i won't spoke for him. after at conversation we had we agreed jiverson was a financial gene russ. i read the financial letters and records. he was constantly refinancing his debt. he was able to find new sources of credit. billy found he was a pioneer in the payday loan. [laughter] and which is something that i didn't know. but i noticed he -- you know, was also, you know, we financing and i said to him, billy, i don't debt restraining him. he said no, he was a jen yous at it. keep in mind that he built month cello twice. he built it before he went to france, he went to france decided that he fell in love with french architecture ander to it down and rebuilt it. when he got tired that have, he built another mansion. popular forrest outside of lynchburg. he spent $30,000 on a mill and a canal at the bottom of the
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mountain. so debt never really restrained him from anything that he wanted to do. and one of the historians who studied, i think it wasn't -- his stephen hawkman said that jefferson decided to make that rather reckless investment of $30,000. he probably would have been able to ride out the financial storm of the early 19th century. and another analysis of the financial records show that jefferson -- the slaves actually were productive farmers. and that in one of the worse decades of the american agricultural economy, jefferson actually lost very little money on his farming operations. and so, i mean, the slaves were holding their own when commodity prices were plunging, and so, i mean, and jefferson kept spending the nail in the coffin
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for him, financially, he cosigned a loan nubbing las. he was speculating in kentucky land accusations, and he needed someone to cosign a $20,000 note. he talked jefferson in to it. and six months later he went bankrupt. that's when the letters began to get -- [inaudible conversations] >> we --. >> wilson . >> i want to followup -- [inaudible] all right. i want to followup on the. i'm interested in that. after reading january lewis' review when where she called your book a train wreck. i thought maybe you wanted to use it to elaborate on it. explain something to the audience the executor and however where i'm confused, is
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that with 18 months of his death, this will was contested by three different party. two in europe one within in the united states at that time with the surfaced three different subsequent wills that been drawn up in europe and so i don't quite understand. and jeffrey sop predicted at this point, he said really going fall in to a lot of litigation. i think it's going go past my lifetime. he was right. and he resigned as executor. and sure enough, this litigation continued finally wound up in supreme court. it was resolved 1852 in favor of the polish descendent. 26 years after jefferson's death. what i'm confused about how did he have the money in front of him. the money was in the u.s. treasury in washington and he never had access to it.
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and it was only after that then, it was tied up in the courts. so how could he have used the money to free slaves and how did he have that option is no one is going to back off from this. i don't want to free my slaves. i'm confused how he had access to the funds. >> the will ended up in litigation because jefferson didn't act on it quickly enough. he had in his hand a letter from him saying that whatever you may hear from europe, my intention for my american funds remains fixed. meaning that his intelligences to have that money used by mr. jefferson to free mr. jefferson's slaves remained fixed. if mr. thomas jefferson walk in the court house carrying the will, carrying a letter saying i want it acted upon. you think the court is going to delay? well, only because jefferson didn't press it.
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he didn't want to press it. anything else? >> access to the money but john barns was a merchant in phil phil -- philadelphia were going in to a account which he helped authority pour of attorney. $4 ,000 at least went in to the account and john barns said why don't you use the money for your own purposes that comes out money. he was using it like he did william short's money in the collateral ingeneious method -- he was skillful. and that was one of the ways he got access to the money. >> right. >> actually. >> and it's not just in short been there's a list of people. he was able to live with the debt. >> right. did you see the letter written after the death when he tried to
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revive the will? he wrote to the lawyer in new york who was apparently controlling the funds and said, can we please revive this because i would like to get the funds and free some slaves. i don't know if you seen it. >> the 1816 will then negated the previous will. that was a decision of the supreme court. really an uphill legal battle to try to get it. >> yes, he didn't cut the legal system off at pass by pressing the will he had the chance. >> how could he. it was contested almost immediately by armstrong saying a portion of that is mine. and so . >> [inaudible] the european heirs eventually
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won. >> i just got the book this morning. i only read the introduction. i was interested in the passage you quoted earlier how jefferson had the plan in 1789 that he wanted to turn the slaves in to good citizens. i have studied haim bunch. i have never seen that passage. in the book and the letter to edward ban kroft, and what he's talking about he wants to bring in german immigrants to be servants and they'll intermingle with the slaves and their children will be freed. either interpreted that as having him being racist saying slaves can't be citizens but germans can. are you suggesting he was imagining them intermingling to be intermarriage and he . >> no. no. go ahead. >> because when i -- the letter several refers to the german's
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children that he's talking about. >> no. >> a followup commentary from william short. >> i have read i know in 1798 short making almost the same proposal and short calls for interracial marriage and interracial children. he embraces . >> those are totally different circumstance. >> same type of proposal. he's talking about the german immigrant. >> go ahead. >>, i mean, i have written about it. >> okay. >> i i can show you the letters. in the letter to ban kroft he's talking about the children of the german. >> no. the children of the slaves. that's what he told thomas paine. when jefferson was engineering the expansion of slavery in to louisiana. pane wrote to him saying now is the time to revive the thing you talked about in paris.
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send slaves to the louisiana territory to sign contractors with planters who will take them for a year or two and train them and then give them their own plots of land and free them. and he specifically referred to reviving the plan that we doesed in paris. >> yes. >> but that's the plan. >> well, i don't, i mean, this plan you're talking about sending slaves to louisiana while the french own it? >> no. this is the 1789. it. >> we bought it. >> you food note from 1789. it can't be about the l.a. purchase. >> why meant was jefferson was in paris and discussed the plan with edward, he not only discussed it with william short but with thomas paine. when the hour of decision came again about whether we would have slavery in louisiana, pane reminded the president of what he had proposed in france namely -- the bran kroft letter.
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to put -- to bring slaves in for a short amount of time to teach them, you know, proper agricultural and set them free. >> okay. i . >> [inaudible conversations] what jefferson is talking about. i don't see jefferson encouraging the mingling of german and african-american. >> it says i will settle the german an slaves on the slaves intermingled and place them on a footing. >> yeah. [inaudible conversations] >> yeah, and says their children should be brought up -- [inaudible] i have no doubt they will be good citizens. it's -- turned to the germans. or referring to . >> we could argue this later i think. -- [inaudible] they are mixed up. >> go to comparison with george washington.
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>> right. >> washington, of course, frees the slaves on his death. >> that's through ten years of trying. >> washington's story is a great story. where you wrote about it in the last book. >> right. >> but no one -- while they were president because it would be political suicide and in fact jefferson recognized that it would not only be suicide but potential civil war. the letter with the missouri comprise that talks about -- [inaudible] and for the first time recognizes that the great war of hundreds and thousandses might die would not necessarily be in europe which he believed fighting between republican regimes. could well be in the new nation. fighting between slavery and
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independence. and jefferson does give his on reasons for not free, his slaves. you're quite right, he never intended to free them even. if he had been in debt but he did argue that to do so would be civil war and that the only solution would be a [inaudible] which slaves move to the region which could be the caribbean west or back to africa. you could argue it was self-justification. >> right. >> but also a reason worth consideringen i came at this differently. i was a caribbean scholar, working on the british caribbean, these were some of the most regimes anywhere i was aware that the never thought about the modeler issue of slavery.
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they never discussed it before during the american revolution, in fact the first place it's discussed is here in america. it proceeds the british app lists debate. slavery throughout history is only in the west and the 18th century you have an abolition move. people request the morality of slavery. to me, jefferson was remarkable, he actually questioned the system and had numb em pa everyone think that realize slaves freed would be angry of the way they were treated they might actually rebel. i don't know if you want to. >> no, jefferson was wrong about the blacks because when they were freed, there was no general rebellion after 18 ape. there was no mass slaughter.
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jefferson throughout his life chefs an exaggerator. and one of the revolutionary war was -- a number of slaves ran off to join the british. it override the loyalty that many more slaves had shown american cause. it overroad the fact that first of all, i should mention george washington integrated the american army in 17 ape blacks fought through the war in washington's army. and jefferson never once says governor offered freedom to any of his slaves who would fight for the american cause. but the disloyalty of relatively small number of slaves perceived of loyalty they were running the freedom.
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he own slaves martin hemmings, caesar, and great george had risked they're lives to save jefferson's life and property during the war. jefferson knew this very well when he was writing notes on the state of virginia. it didn't play in to his calculations. and anyway, i would bring up -- [inaudible] that's going a little bit too far. >> yeah. >> we . >> yes? [inaudible] part of the letter by thomas raldolf describing the whipping was boys was enlighted in the farm boot of monocello that was edited in 1953 how could you
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find that piece. >> like everybody else in the early 2001s, i was still rely on the 1950s edition of the farm book that contains a fake similarly of the actual rebellinger with 500 other pages of document and letters about the management of the plantation. and the letter that everybody cites saying saying that karl raldolf writing it's doing very well and nobody is being whipped and at the end it says dot, dot, dot. everybody cites the letter as saying see, nobody was whipped. as the new edition of jefferson's papers have been coming occupy. i made a thoobt look at each volume and looking at all the letter having to do with slavery to see what was emerged and i began moving backwardsed in the series. when i got to the volume that covered that year, 18 so i, i was systemically reading every
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letter, and i came to letter and had a line that i never seen before. it was like this line had magically appeared. and i compared them and order the original from the massachusetts historical society. and the original letter and said nobody is being whipped except the small ones. which entirely reverses the meaning of the letter. this is what what people were prepared to do to protect mr. jefferson's reputation. it and i mentioned, anyway. to me, it was a real turning point. the children was being whipped. jefferson was informed and took no action to stop it. [inaudible]
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[inaudible] [inaudible] he frees [inaudible] i don't know if that was picked up by the microphone. why did jefferson essentially free some of his most valuable slaves?
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two of the slaves he freed were his own children. as to why he freed the other three, i don't know. i don't know if they if he had made a prior promise to them. they were certainly very valuable servants to him. they were all related to him. they were all hemmings. they were related to him through his wife. i can't answer that question. i don't know how he chosen. >> yes. >> i want to thank you for the scholarship you have done to bring this new information i think forward. but i'm interested in the psychology of jefferson. he was presenting us with what i think has been my basic knowledge of jefferson up until now. that's, you know, a very thinker great policy for and thinker. very religious in his own way man spiritual, and seeing
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slavery but in the big picture of history and how it might influence and your work seems to have brought out a different psychological jefferson that we're not very familiar with. and, you know, do you see the split in him. there's this that he's compartmentizes to be the extent he can be the philosophical thinker and seeing slavery as all the things he shown us the danger of freeing slaves, and that on the other hand, this other side of him, the business side, which i think is a surprise to me, i'm not a scholar or a historian, but that is this other part of jefferson that even he himself maybe was in denial about and yet he was good tat. >> well, i don't see him as
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compartmentized. that was the formulation that joseph performed. i don't buy it. it's based in large measure on things that jefferson said about slavery. many of the statement he made some of the most ringing antislavery statement. we think were almost issued as press realities from the white house or put on billboards or in newspaper. they were private responses he wrote from roughly 1790 to his death from various aggressionists people who came to him begging him to doing? to end slavery. and he would them off. say the time is not yet right. we hold the wolf by the ears or these people are too stupid. need the white people their minds to ripen. all of these excuses are, i mean, they were privately written.
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so and jefferson had a phrase. he called it the soft answer he wrote to people to ab abolitionist who was pestering. he was a master correspondent. they were not really meant for public consumption. they were meant for private letter. >> time is running out. i just realized. jefferson is a -- [inaudible] talking about the existence of the slavery and the america that the right of liberty was accompanied by the system in which a fifth of the population were in enslaved, the british naturally liked to be morally superior during the reluges their war, samuel johnson famously said in 1776, why is that [inaudible]
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they had slavery issue almost as large in the british caribbean. i'm grateful for you to talking about this. the main purpose of the discussions is indeed to have debates. i thought we had a good dialogue today. and thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] [applause] expwrnchts you're watching booktv on c-span2. 48 hours of non-fiction authors and books, every weekend. we talk with local author bank bryant. all those in favor coauthored with susan clark. he explains the new england culture of town meeting. it's conducted at vermont historical society. the meeting is like the sex
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act. there's no completion you may try it pretty soon you get bored and go home. the key is there's a decision at there are lots of discussions throughout a town meeting. in which policy changes has nothing to do with recommendation or listening to people for the help it is. it's to governor yourself and reach a decision. you go in to a town meeting and your tax rate is x and it's y with you come out. you raided your taxes and lowered them. you bought a town truck or decided not to or buy one. it sends the message to the rest of the united states. cow can governor locally. nationally it's almost a given that we can can't. you couldn't really do that. in fact indeed you can. we do. i published with susan clark a
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book about town meeting about the liberation of town meeting, and reforms for town meeting. got all of those in favor, which i thought it was a neat tight. it was susan's idea. she's the force behind it. we're worried that the town meeting tradition is suffering. and that we needed to write a poplar book, a readable book. it's an argument for a town meeting and citizens serves. the new england town in the town meeting is a cultural phenomena and children grow up in a vermont town watching their parents go off to the town meeting arguing about it the next day, applauding the citizens, bemoaning another citizens. it's all very real. by the time you're in high school you know exactly what a town meeting is. pretty much how to behave in it. new englanders are generally pretty good at deliberation.
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they know about the rules. i found when newcomers come, and i take them to a town meeting, they have two motions. one is often boredom. they think, wow, is this all there is. it is true. others are always impriced by the rules of order. even scholars of deliberative democracy don't realize the extend to which this is not shouting and yelling and screaming or anything like that. it's very ordered. the best way to think about it is the vermont the town itself as a legislative body. anybody living in the town is a legislator. and they come to town meetings at least once a year or other special town meetings they themselves can call. so it's not representative democracy at all. no one represents you. you're the legislator.
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the town of 1500 voters is 1500 legislators. and like the sessions of congress and the house and senate not everybody comes to everybody session. we all come to a town hall, you're checked in at the door, they make sure you're a citizens even though everybody knows you are it's kind of fun. they'll say, frank ryan i'll say yes, and they'll check had me off. it's formal at that point. even though everyone knows everyone else. we sit down, there's an agenda. we can affect the citizens, the legislators can affect that agenda if we want to. usually it's call the select person of the town which are the executive body of the town. they carry out the laws for the town. so we go through the agenda just like any legislature would, the question is called, it's conducted under strict rules of
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order too. it's not what you see on television. there's no yelling out, there's no interrupting, if that happens people are called in to account quickly in deed. it's a structured meeting. takes a new way of looking at politics. it brings the left and the right together. the right fears big government, the left fears big business. what the commonality? it's big, and susan and i feel that if americans had had that experience of seeing how small works best for democracy it would change everything. but of course, in order to keep town meeting going or to save it, show to empower citizens. if all american citizens went to town meetings, lived in small
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towns went town meetings regularly the presidential election would be better. we wouldn't be sick of them already. there would be none of the unpleasantness. i think the fundamental challenge in the last almost 100 years certainly the last fifty is that vermonters like all americans got on the centralizing model that it just seemed to be that we needed to centralize power whether it's in washington or whenever. and so we did take away from the towns in vermont and it happened throughout new england. a lot of the ability to make decisions. and that's one of the great dangers. because people don't go to town meeting to see their neighbors and chat. they go to town meeting because they're interests are at stake and they want to governor themselves and make a decision.
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one you take that away, slowly but surely the. attendance seems to wane it's another get toct. together -- there the politicians they advertise they hollywood a town mall meeting what they're going is hold a meeting of the supporters they hope, where they'll tell them what they're going do. that doesn't even come close to a town meeting. they're using town meeting calling it town because they want to be imply it's going to be a conversation, you see. and it's going to be nice like they do back in new england. so that's one case. and that's the most egregious model, it would seem to me. and the other is a general reference to public hearings, governmental public hearings as a town neating. -- meeting why do we insist on
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calling these meetings, which are not town meetings. why do we insist on calling them? the national consciousness is linked to the tradition. it's a dream we all have. we have it in vermont. common, ordinary citizens collect collectively can deliberate and reach decisions that count and matter on really important issues that affect their lives. that the real democracy that began with the greek and we argued about ever since does in fact work and work well in places like vermont, and in fact can easily be transare forble to other places in the united states if people have the wisdom and the will to do it. for more information on this and other cities visited by c-span local content vehicle visit
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same course we have been on will not lead to a better destination. the same path we're means $20 trillion in debt at the end of the second term e he won't have. it means crippling unemployment. it means stagment take home pay. a devastated military and, by the way, unless we change course we may be looking at another recession. [booing] >> the question of the election comes down to this, to do you want more of the same or do you want real change? [cheering and applause] we know what change looks like and what romney is selling taint. giving more power to the bank isn't change. another $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy, that's not change. refusing questions about the details of your policy until after the election, that's definitely not changed.


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